Thursday, 28 February 2019

The Nautilus Shrine (30 Minute Dungeon)

Tristan at The Bogeyman's Cave came up with a fun little idea of trying to write out a dungeon in 30 minutes. Description here: http://bogeymanscave.blogspot.com/2019/02/30-minute-dungeons-are-back.html

I got the initial ideas/draft out in half an hour, but then maybe spent another hour or so working on those ideas. I guess I lost the challenge, but had fun regardless. Note: In the drafting,  I did use the tables here: https://lizardmandiaries.blogspot.com/2017/08/guild-dogs-job-generator.html to expedite the process.

Here is "The Nautilus Shrine", a mapless dungeon which highlights my obsession with worms and mutations. The original draft that I did get done under the half hour limit can be found at the bottom of the post. 




A seaside town has ceased all contact with the outside world. Travelers there find the residents listless and sleepy, oblivious to the ruin and disrepair around them.    

A shrine of a fleshy limestone corkscrews beneath the wood and stone of the seaside town. It digs down beneath the water and the sand. It has been there forever. Or has it just appeared? Residents are confused. They cannot remember but avoid the shrine regardless.

1) A spiraling structure of whitestone, covered in dead barnacles, splinters through the boardwalk. It looks like the tip of an enormous organic spear.  d8 warped men, bent double, their forms pulled into torturous shapes, tend a whitestone chunk of altar at the entry. Each sprouts a flesh cord which leads back into dark arch behind them. They snarl at any one who comes near and bar entry. On their chunk of rock squirms fat pink worms that they feed smeared flesh.

Stairs of whitestone.

2) The chamber is like the inside of a snails shell.  Clothes, sacks and old belongings heaped to one pile. No metal remains in the pile. A faint raspy moaning. Sometimes a body is still attached to the refuse. It is oddly shrunken, clothes several sizes too big. A white powder is spread in and around the mound. It desiccates all it touches. The moaning belongs to a shrivelled man who cant remember his name but can remember when the “white claw” appeared and unleashed “the pink snakes”. He is dying and annoyed that no one else seems to remember this happening.

Stairs of whitestone

3) The grotty whitestone walls look like the old burrowing grounds of a million worms. A massive pot of a whitemetal bubbles in the centre. d6 warped men are mixing a metallic golden mixture in the pot. This is melted jewellery. The warped men toss in more pieces, sometimes fingers/ears/necks/wrists still attached. They are engrossed in their work but will bar entry if they notice trespassers. The cords of the men goes deeper.

Stairs of whitestone

4) A damp spherical chamber of blackrock. A spider of 6 warped men fused together at their shoulders wallows. Heads have fused into one meaty, misshaped skull. A too large central eye is  surrounded by 12 others. The eyes spin sadly around the room, taking note of everything. Their legs and arms groan and clatter. The head is sticky and porous. The spider will attempt to skitter towards anyone who enters and fuse its porous head with them (CON and DEX tests). The spider’s cord leads further down the shrine.

Damp stairs of pearl.

5) A narrow curving passageway, iridescent walls of pearl. d6 warped men carry small iron buckets from the huge pot in room 2. They pour these down steaming whitemetal pipes that penetrate deeper into the shrine. They will ignore any trespassers until they have poured their bucket down a pipe. Then they attack.

Damp stairs of pearl

6) A narrow curving passageway sloping down sharply, iridescent walls of pearl. A tangle of whitemetal pipes, hot and steaming, snakes through the ceiling and floor, deeper into the shrine. Flesh cords run along the ground, some cook against the pipes.

Damp stairs of pearl.

(Rooms 7, 8, 9 and 10 are all on the same level. A bulbous, expansive and round basement. Everything is wet, iridescent and made of pearl here. Thin, retracting membranes separate the chambers).

7) A central misshapen sarcophagus, big enough for six men. Molten gold constantly drips from the iron pipes terminating above, sizzling and growing the sarcophagus. It is wide and flat. Beetle-like. From the ever melting lid a tangle of flesh cords emerges, connecting to those higher up the shrine and into nearby rooms. Lifting the lid (risking the molten gold) reveals a beige jelly. It will sprout fresh flesh cords, like a hand. These will quite quickly turn any trespasser into a warped man. If threatened the jelly will summon a connected warped man to wail and beg in its defence, offering untold treasures in exchange for its life.  

8) A man shaped like a bear stumbles around the wet chamber. Limbs are of different sizes, some bulbous and fleshy, some long and too lean. The fat crab-like back is covered in wounds that intermediately sprout flesh cords. These try to connect with trespassers. The man bear is sick, mad and uncoordinated.

9) A tangle of flesh cords snake into an ankle high pool of salt water. They terminate in knots in the murk. They are attempting to fuse themselves into the shape of a man but it does not look right. Untold worms the size of snakes swim around the pool, eager to enter any manflesh.

10) A corpse sits on a stone throne. The throne is dripped with molten gold like the sarcophagus. The corpse has an enormous head (features now rotted), resting on its decayed shoulders. The neck is snapped. A huge flesh cord emerges from the belly of the corpse and connects to the sarcophagus. Removing the cord reveals it to still be living. It can be attached to a new body for control of the Nautilus shrine and all current associated warped men. The jelly in the sarcophagus in chamber 7 will constantly attempt to kill any one who takes this position.



Draft:

Hook: some one long dead PC’s Move them to a non physical realm (their mind is trapped?), to break a curse – maybe theirs?  

General background: a dockside anti church, lots of traps pushing out volumes of dangerous material

1) d8 warped men, bent double, their forms pulled into torturous shapes, tend a limestone altar at the entry to the shrine. Each has flesh cord emerging from some where on their form leading back into dark door behind them. They snarl at any one who comes near and bar entry.   

2) A chamber tended by d6 warped men. A massive pot bubbles in the centre. The warped men are mixing a metallic golden mixture in the pot. It is made of melted down jewellery, sometimes fingers are still attached to rings. The cords from the men go down deeper.

3) Clothes and sacks and old belongings heaped to one pile. Sometimes a body is still attached to the refuse. Oddly shrunken, as if the clothes it wears were several sizes too big. A white powder is spread around the mound. It desiccates all it touches.

4) A spider of 6 warped men fused together at their shoulders in the centre of the room. Their heads have fused into one enormous and misshaped skull. A huge central eye, surrounded by all the other eyes of the men spins wildly around the room, taking note of everything. Their legs and arms groan and clatter under the weight of the too large head. The skull is sticky and porous and the tangle of bodies will attempt to skitter towards anyone who enters and fuse with them (CON and DEX tests). A cord is wrapped around the form and leads further down the shrine.

5) d6 warped men carry small iron buckets from the huge pot in room 2. They pour these down steaming iron pipes that lead deeper into the shrine. They will ignore any trespassers until they have poured their bucket down a pipe.

6) A tangle of iron pipes, hot and steaming, snakes through the ceiling and floor, deeper into the shrine. Flesh cords run along the ground, some cooking against the pipes.

7) A huge misshapen sarcophagus. Molten gold constantly drips from the iron pipes terminating above, sizzling and growing the sarcophagus. It is wide and flat like a beetle. Beneath the ever melting top a tangle of flesh cords emerges, connecting to those higher up the shrine and into nearby rooms.

8) A man shaped like a bear stumbles around the room on all fours. Its limbs are of different sizes, some bulbous and fleshy, some long and too lean. Its huge fat crab like back is covered in wounds that intermediately sprout flesh cords. These try to connect with trespassers. The man bear is sick, mad and uncoordinated.

9) A tangle of flesh cords snake along this room. They terminate in knots in the bare stone chamber. They are attempting to fuse themselves into the shape of a man but it does not look right.

10) A corpse sits on a stone throne. The throne is dripped with molten gold like the sarcophagus. The corpse has an enormous head (the features now rotted), resting on its decayed shoulders, the neck snapped. A huge flesh cord emerges from the belly of the corpse and connects to the sarcophagus. Touching it spreads its consciousness.


10 comments:

  1. This is great! Good job. I love doing things like this.

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    1. Thanks Shane. Yeah the challenge is a great idea.

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  2. Constantly repeating the stairs really amps up the tension.

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    1. The image of stairs spiraling down, covered in bundles of those flesh cords kept coming to mind as I wrote it.

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  3. Gross! How powerful are these guys in your mind? Could be a great starting adventure.

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    1. I think a warped man would have d4HD, and possibly would revive themselves if still connected by flesh cord to the jelly in the sarcophagus. They would just scratch and bite. The man bear would be 6HD, probably smother and punch and bite. The jelly would have like 100HP and just try to convert people to warped men every round. The flesh snakes would be 1HD and bite for a tiny amount but try to wriggle into the body of targets (CON test) then parasitically get them to move towards the jelly to get flesh corded.

      I see the shrine as a organic submarine. Maybe the PC's get control of it, sacrificing one PC to the throne in the process. Then they get to travel to some body horror version of Atlantis.

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    2. Fantastic. Its arrival can bang! be an item in the "You Don't See *That* Every Day" section of city random encounters, too, for any poet city. Which is what I'm gonna steal it for.

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    3. Poet city could work. I was picturing a city filled with dreamers and imaganariums, somehow whatever they envision in their minds eye flowers into existence. Then this grotty nautilus shrine comes and wrecks everything.

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